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The Book of Zephaniah
I will do the Zephaniah
Commentary similar to my other Commentaries . . . in that
I will bring the verse or verses in the KJV, followed by what
it is saying to me. What I write will be a personal comment,
it is NOT Scripture.
Zephaniah is ninth in the order of the minor prophets. He prophesied "in the days of Josiah" (Zep. 1:1), that is, between 642 and 611 B.C. Zephaniah means "Jehovah hath guarded," literally, "hidden" (Ps. 27:5; 83:3). In the introductory heading, not only his father, but also his grandfather, his great-grandfather, and his great-great-grandfather, implies that those peopls were noteworthy, or maybe was done this way the set him apart from another Zephaniah at the time of the captivity (Jer.21:1). Some think that Zephaniah's ancestors were also possibly endowed with the prophetic spirit, but this cannot be verified.
He must have flourished in the earlier part of Josiah's reign. In Zep. 2:13-15 he foretells the doom of Nineveh, which happened in 625 B.C.; and in Zep. 1:4 he denounces varied forms of idolatry, specifically that of Baal. King Josiah's reformation began in the twelfth and was completed in the eighteenth year of his reign. When Zephaniah denounced Baal worship, he co-operated 100% with that good king (2 Ki.23:25; 2 Chron.23:2-6) in his efforts, and so must have prophesied somewhere between the twelfth and eighteenth years of Josiah's reign.
Even though secular history is silent about this, does not mean it is not true, because it was at this same time that Jeremiah prophesied. Zephaniah had for his colleagues Jeremiah, and Huldah the prophetess. Huldah the Prophetess; wife of Shallum, who was the keeper of the wardrobe in the time of King Josiah. She dwelt in the second quarter of Jerusalem. It seems that Huldah was well known as a prophetess, for when Hilkiah found the scroll of the Law, he with his four companions, took it to her. On that occasion she prophesied that God would bring evil upon Jerusalem and upon its inhabitants. The king, however, was told that he would die in peace before the evil days came (2 Kings 22:14-20; 2 Chron. 34:22-28).
Zephaniah's prophecy begins with the nation's sin and the fearful retribution coming at the hands of the Chaldeans. These are not mentioned by name, as in Jeremiah; because Zephaniah's prophecies were later and nearer fulfilment, and were more explicit than those of an earlier date. The second chapter dooms the persecuting states in the neighborhood as well as Judea itself. The third chapter denounces Jerusalem, but concludes with the promise of her joyful return to Almighty God.
Zephaniah's style, though not inspiring or uplifting, is very graphic and vivid in details (Zep. 1:4-12). There are some similiar incidents with former prophets (Zep. 2:14 & Isa. 34:11 . . . Zep. 2:15 & Isa. 47:8 . . . Zep. 3:10 & Isa. 18:1 . . . Zep. 2:8 & Isa. 16:6 . . . Zep. 1:5 & Jer. 8:2 . . . Zep. 1:12 & Jer. 48:11). In the New Testament, Romans 15:6, seems to refer to Zep 3:9.
The following taken from the Talmud: . . . http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/15242-zephaniah
One of the twelve Minor Prophets who describes himself as "the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah, the son of Amon, King of Judah" (Zeph. i. 1). He seems, therefore, to have been a descendant of Hezekiah, King of Judah, since otherwise only the name of his father would have been given (comp. Isa. i. 1; Ezek. i. 3; Joel i. 1). If he was of royal descent, he probably lived in Jerusalem; and evidence of this is seen in his prophecies, where he describes various parts of the city. According to the first verse of the book which bears his name, he flourished during the reign of Josiah, and on the basis of his utterances the majority of modern scholars date his activity prior to the reforms so rigorously inaugurated and promulgated after 621, the pictures of corruption and the approaching foe being most appropriately referred to the situation in Judah during the early years of Josiah and the Scythian invasion.
The contents of the book of this prophet fall into two parts: i. 1-iii. 8, the coming judgment on the world, including Israel and the nations; and iii. 9-20, a promise of universal salvation. Zephaniah's special denunciations are directed against false worship and irreligion. The calamity will find every one, even in the hiding-places of Jerusalem; Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Cush, and Assyria shall be overwhelmed by punishment and disaster; Jerusalem in particular, being rebellious, corrupt, and disobedient to the word of Yhwh, shall fall under the divine wrath. Yet, on the other hand, God's promise is made known to the nations, that He will so purify them that they may call on Him, and all shall bring Him offerings. After the storm of judgment Israel shall be humble, and shall trust in Yhwh alone. New social conditions shall arise, and justice and righteousness shall prevail, so that the redeemed shall rejoice in the Lord.
Zephaniah is a forceful book. Its language is vigorous and picturesque, and betrays an acquaintance with the Earlier Prophets. The ideas most emphasized are the providential control of the nations of the world, the necessity of purity and justice as opposed to the prevalent corruption and injustice of the day, and the refining value of judgment and suffering.
Book of Zephaniah
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